Was the Big Easy, Easy?
|Image from Jade Photography |
Several years ago, my wife Liz and I made the journey on a tour bus from Cincinnati to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. New Orleans is also known as the "Big Easy".
As it turned out, the trip turned out to be anything but easy. It was a very challenging learning experience. Previously, Liz and I had gone on other bus tours with the same company which were shorter and turned out to be pleasant. The only main challenge which occurred was not being allowed to use the in bus restroom except in times of dire emergency. Very quickly I learned the "pleasures" of standing in line with a group of other women waiting to use the bathroom. Often at a cramped state supplied roadside rest. After the first couple of times with the same women, I seemingly was accepted and allowed to do my very basic business without incident. I was relieved in more ways than the obvious.
The trip to New Orleans proved to be much longer with many more "rest stops". Again I didn't have many problems until the bus made it to the deep south and we stopped on the Mississippi/Alabama state line. As we joined the line waiting to go in, my nervousness increased. My feelings proved to be unfounded until I had to come face to face with two women after I paused to wash my hands. They took one look and me and glared and I thought here it goes. In response I smiled, dried my hands and vacated the rest room as quickly as I could. I was so scared I kept thinking a small town deep south redneck cop would be pulling the bus over looking for me. Fortunately, nothing happened and the bus then took us to the outskirts of New Orleans itself before it needed to stop for fuel. During the refueling stop again I needed to take care of business and hurriedly did it. Liz, however was behind me and took longer to get a stall, so I needed to wait alone for her. While I was waiting, I tried to waste time by looking at the truck stop tourist items like I was really going to purchase an alligator skull. My paranoia told me to keep moving as I waited for Liz and the Bus to get ready to go again. By having some sort of a purpose, I hoped to ward off any sort of unwanted advances by anyone. Which never came.
Once we arrived in the "Big Easy" the bus stopped at the big seafood restaurant with wonderful food. As I finished my meal, I excused myself and went to the restroom. While I was in there, another woman from the bus saw me and said something to the fact that I used "their" bathroom too. Since she was elderly and not overly negative, I chalked up the entire experience to education...for her. From the restaurant it was on to our fantastic hotel and the blur of an actual Mardi Gras experience, I say blur because it is how I remember it. As a casual visitor I think being at Mardi Gras was a wonderful one time happening but a less crowded trip to New Orleans would be more enjoyable as I have been there twice now. Once as my male self.
Our trip to the actual event involved quite a bit of walking and pushing our ways through huge crowds, Plus the rest room theme raised it's potentially ugly head again as any restroom was difficult to find. We had to stop and eat off the main route to basically find a restroom to use. Before we knew it, the entire Mardi Gras experience was taken off the bucket list and we started our journey home. By this time my confidence was good and I had no more experiences to remember.